Basic Exercises & Stretches for the Workplace
Stretching at work can help you relax, reduce muscle discomfort and perhaps reduce the risk of injury, according to website Occupational Health and Safety. Performing basic exercises can help you strengthen your body and loosen tight muscles. An exercise and stretching routine can also help you save money if you treat yourself to some physical activity instead of a visit to the vending machine during your breaks.
At Your Desk
Turn your work desk into a workout zone with basic exercises that can help you get stronger. While seated, keep your knees bent and your feet planted on the floor. Extend one leg at a time until it’s parallel with the floor, then slowly bend your knee and return your foot to the ground. Switch sides and continue your leg lifts. For a “magic carpet ride,” place your hands on your armrests, engage your core and lift your body a few inches from the seat. Hold for 10 to 20 seconds, then lower and repeat five times. To work your triceps, stand with your back to the desk and rest your palms on its surface. Bend your knees and lower down until your elbows reach a 90-degree angle. Repeat 20 times.
Around the Office
Get some extra exercise by moving your printer a distance away from your desk, if possible. This way, you’ll have to walk more throughout the day when retrieving documents from the printer. Take the long way to the restroom. Take your phone calls while standing up or pacing. Park farther away from the office and take the stairs when possible. If your office has a gym or a workout room, do basic exercises such as ab crunches, pushups, pullups or rope jumps without necessarily having to change into full workout gear.
Stretching While Seated
Stretch your upper back and shoulders with shoulder rolls. While seated, inhale and slowly bring your right shoulder up to your ear, then exhale and roll the shoulder back into place. Repeat on the left side. You can also bring both shoulders up at the same time, exhaling to roll them back into place. To stretch your neck, sit up straight in your chair and then slowly tilt your right ear toward your right shoulder. Allow your head to return to neutral position, and then slowly tilt your left ear toward your left shoulder. Stretch your chest while seated by sitting up straight, interlacing your fingers behind your back and then lifting your sternum.
Stretching While Standing
If you’ve been seated all day, standing stretches are a particularly effective way to relax and rejuvenate your body. While standing, extend your arms overhead and then grasp your left wrist with your right hand. Engage your core, and then lean to the right to get a stretch through the left side of your body. Switch arm placement and repeat on the other side. You can also stand with your hands on your hips and your feet planted shoulder-width apart. Press your hips forward and your shoulders back, holding the stretch for up to 10 seconds.
- Occupational Health and Safety: The Benefits of Stretching
- The American Society of Safety Engineers: Do Stretching Programs Prevent Work-related Musculoskeletal Disorders?
- Forbes: 10 Best Exercises to Do At Your Desk
- Yoga Journal: Six Stretches to Do at Work
- Stanford University: Work Breaks, Exercises and Stretches
- Mike Watson Images/moodboard/Getty Images